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Self-Portrait, 1993

 
Self-Portrait, 1993

First light, and the starlings name themselves
           one by one,
wind swelling like an ocean, leaf to dagger-pointed leaf
through the willow, river birch casting forked shadows beneath the heat.

Everything but me seems to have its instruction: the hare
shuffling through the brush to its burrow, noseeums rising
in droves, each slat of the venetian blinds an intonation of light.

But this is where I keep my allegiances,
in this room of no sleep so thick with silence
that it claims its own configuration,

that thin cord of luminance beneath my bedroom door
     a stropped edge of steel;
the image the window holds most clear when I look through it,
my face afloat in the glass—

another false image imposed on our backyard,
another false image
floating freely on the reflection of the waking world.



The Spoon River Poetry Review, Fall 2010

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